Yes, we’re still in the running to win the $1000 grocery gift card courtesy of the All You contest. As you may recall, the grocery challenge is to spend just $25 per person in the household per week (that means $75 a week for our family of three) for four consecutive weeks. Week two ended on Saturday and we spent a grand total of $71.71 on groceries.
There were several things I did this week to keep the grocery bill down. In addition to the tricks I used during week one of the contest, I added a few more this past week:
1. I took full advantage of coupons. Harris Teeter, our local grocery store, was doubling their coupons up to $1.99 (they normally double coupons, but only up to $.99). So I culled through my coupons for all the ones offering between $1 and $1.99 off of products knowing those coupons would yield especially big savings this past week (between $2 and $3.99, to be precise). Then I based meals around items I could get for good prices based on my high value coupons. And, it paid off (pun definitely intended). In all, I was able to save over $18 just using manufacturers’ coupons. Several times I was able to combine these coupons with Harris Teeter specials for some really good deals (I even got two items completely free).
2. I bought groceries at the drugstore. I had $6.50 in “Register Rewards” from a recent trip to Walgreens where I purchased some toiletries (Register Rewards work like Extra Care Bucks at CVS — they essentially represent store credit for purchasing certain items). I used the Register Rewards to buy some snack items. Snacks represent a pretty decent percentage of our weekly food purchases, so the more I can save on them the better. I even picked some snacks that were on sale for extra savings. All told, I bought two big containers of ice cream and a large bag of tortilla chips that, after using the Register Rewards, cost me only $1.74.
3. I let the traditional July 4th holiday cuisine work to my benefit. Who doesn’t like hot dogs on July 4th, right? We don’t typically eat hot dogs but I’ve found that every so often they taste really good. They’re also really inexpensive. I actually bought the highest quality hot dog sold at the grocery store — organic, all beef — with good quality hot dog buns, and each hot dog was still less than $1. Another cool thing about hot dogs: Charlie will occasionally eat them. That’s a pretty big deal since our picky eater almost never eats meat. I paired the hot dogs with some homemade cole slaw made with CSA veggies and some chips with salsa (the tortilla chips were the ones from the Walgreens visit). So not only did we save some money by celebrating July 4th in traditional culinary fashion, we also had a pretty good meal.
4. Just as I did last week, I made a huge pot of soup at the beginning of the week and brought bowls of it to work each day for lunch. Although unlike last week I didn’t use CSA veggies, I did choose the soup based on items I had on hand or were on sale at the grocery store. I made carrot ginger soup which tasted equally yummy hot or cold (making it extra convenient to bring to work). My recipe was based on the one found here.
Carrot Ginger Soup
Makes about 6 generous servings
Adapted from the recipe for Simple Carrot Ginger Soup found on Whippedtheblog
- 1 lb carrots (I used a small bag of the mini carrots)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 Yukon gold potato, cubed
- 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
In a saucepan, place the potatoes, carrots, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and ginger and saute until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and saute another minute. Pour the potato, carrots, and broth mixture into the large pot with the onions, ginger, and garlic. Simmer until potatoes and carrots are very tender, about 20 additional minutes. Remove from heat and puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender, food processor, or upright blender.
The tally for the soup:
yellow onion, potato, garlic, ginger: $1.00 (this is just a guess since I essentially bought each of these items in bulk and the potato was part of our CSA box)
chicken broth: $1.17 (I made the broth; you can find the recipe and my calculations for the cost here)
olive oil, salt, and pepper: $.50 (again, this is a guess and a pretty generous one since I doubt they were really this expensive)
Grand total: $4.70
Cost per serving: $.78
When I ate this soup at work, I usually brought a hard boiled egg, a piece of fruit, and some yogurt to go with it which all made for some inexpensive, yet tasty, eats.
We’re in good shape to remain in this contest for the third week. We’ve spent about $50 in groceries this week so far which leaves us $25 for the rest of the week. No problem (I think; I might be getting cocky).